Jul. 20—The City Council could vote on a request to continue to use Rochester's Silver Lake Station as a day center for people facing homelessness on Aug. 2.
"We at The Landing MN ask to be allowed to continue being able to use the Silver Lake Station until the end of April 2022, " Holly Fifield, co-founder of The Landing MN, told the Rochester City Council during its public comment period Monday. "The Landing MN will take responsibility for all costs of staffing, food, programming, workman's compensation insurance and general liability insurance."
She said the organization is only asking the city to provide the space, utilities and building maintenance and insurance for an additional eight months as the nonprofit looks to find a long-term home.
"The (former) Silver Lake fire station has never been, nor is it considered to be, a permanent location for these services," she said.
The council agreed to consider an extension as an option in two weeks, but stopped short of considering it as the only option for the building and the city's response to homelessness.
"I see this as an area where we need to be supportive," council member Nick Campion said. Olmsted County, he said, should be the lead government body addressing the issue.
Council member Shaun Palmer agreed, saying The Landing was already provided with an extension, which included the expectation of next steps.
"I don't want to take away from what The Landing has done. They did good work," he said. "They stepped up, but we did give them a date, saying they needed to have a plan. Coming back and saying they don't have a plan is not a plan."
What happened: The Rochester City Council discussed a request to allow Silver Lake Station to be used as a day center for people struggling with homelessness through April
Why does this matter: The city's agreement with The Landing MN will end Aug. 31.
What's next: The council will continue discussion of the request, as well as other options on Aug. 2.
Holly Fifield and her husband, Dan Fifield, have said the nonprofit is working to secure a site for a permanent day center in the city, most recently looking at a site on the north side of Rochester.
Several council members indicated they would support allowing The Landing to stay in the city space, if it works out financially.
"It gives us some more time in our community, as a collective, to figure out how we do this," Council President Brooke Carlson said. The Landing provides a service not provided elsewhere, she said.
Council member Mark Bransford also said more time should be allowed to let the organization find its next steps.
"That's not going to be a city plan," he said. "What we're doing is allowing an organization as a nonprofit to help people in the future."